The current stopgap budget measure keeping federal government agencies operating will expire on Wednesday, January 15. Although Congress agreed to a top-level spending number of $1.012 trillion in a much-lauded budget deal in December, appropriators were left to sort out the details. Congressional leaders remain cautiously optimistic that they can reach agreement, but details remain tightly held. Education spending decisions are expected to be among the most contentious.
Until agreement is reached, a temporary continuing resolution will likely be approved to prevent a government shutdown.
Typically, Congress divides the annual budget into 12 separate spending measures. Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) last week told reporters that more than half of the annual spending bills have been wrapped up, but negotiations are still taking place on some of the federal budget's more controversial areas.
The bill that funds student aid, the Labor-HHS-Education bill, is one of the most contentious and reportedly one of the bills that remains uncompleted. The Labor-HHS-Education bill also funds the National Institutes of Health, Head Start, portions of the Affordable Care Act, the National Labor Relations Board, and many other health and education-related programs.
The Labor-HHS-Education spending bill is typically difficult move given the number of policy riders members of Congress attempt to attach to it. Mikulski reports that appropriators have been grappling with more than 100 proposed riders, some having to do with abortion, funding for the Affordable Care Act, and Dodd-Frank financial regulations.
NACUBO will share details of the final FY14 spending allocations when they become publicly available.